shelf

noun
\ ˈshelf How to pronounce shelf (audio) \
plural shelves\ ˈshelvz How to pronounce shelves (audio) \

Definition of shelf

1a : a thin flat usually long and narrow piece of material (such as wood) fastened horizontally (as on a wall) at a distance from the floor to hold objects
b : one of several similar pieces in a closet, bookcase, or similar structure
c : the contents of a shelf the author of a shelf of best sellers
2 : something resembling a shelf in form or position: such as
a : a sandbank or ledge of rocks usually partially submerged
b : a flat projecting layer of rock
c : the submerged gradually sloping border of a continent or island : continental shelf
off the shelf
: available from stock : not made to order off the shelf equipment
on the shelf
: in a state of inactivity or uselessness

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Other Words from shelf

shelfful \ ˈshelf-​ˌfu̇l How to pronounce shelfful (audio) \ noun
shelflike \ ˈshelf-​ˌlīk How to pronounce shelflike (audio) \ adjective

Examples of shelf in a Sentence

Put the vase on the shelf. the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet Will you get that book down off the shelf? We don't have much shelf space.
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Recent Examples on the Web

There's no word on when the product might eventually hit store shelves, but perhaps, Kendall's foray into beauty will lead to an eventual collab with her sisters, too. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Kendall Jenner Is Reportedly Working on a Line of Beauty Products," 9 May 2019 Keep scrolling to see the latest and greatest K-beauty products from brands like Belif, Lapcos, and more, hitting real and virtual shelves in May. Allure, "The Best New K-Beauty Skin-Care Launches Coming in May," 4 May 2019 But Amy's autobiography, A Little Me, which is expected to hit shelves in May, is said to be her most intimate offering yet. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Amy Roloff's Net Worth Goes Way Beyond 'Little People, Big World'," 2 Apr. 2019 The book will debut in the U.K. on September 19, 2019, before hitting shelves in the U.S. in April 2020. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "PS, I Love You, the Bestselling Book That Inspired a Hilary Swank Movie, Is Getting a Sequel," 13 Mar. 2019 For those who don't know, Ulta has more than 1,100 stores around the world, and now Peach & Lily will be lining the shelves in all of them. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "You Can Now Shop Peach & Lily Skin-Care Products at Ulta Stores," 29 Mar. 2019 In fact, the entire 12-volume series sat on a shelf in my cabin, above the Nespresso machine. Mark Rozzo, Town & Country, "Introducing Blackberry Mountain, the Idyllic New Resort from Blackberry Farm," 11 Feb. 2019 The $39 Amazon Fire TV Stick sits at the bottom shelf in terms of its low price and comparatively limited feature set. Cameron Faulkner, The Verge, "How to pick the Amazon Fire TV that’s right for you," 3 Oct. 2018 The dairy industry has complained for almost 20 years that the FDA hasn’t policed this definition as products made from soy, almonds, cashews, rice, hemp, and oats have filled shelves in the dairy aisle. Umair Irfan, Vox, "“Fake milk”: why the dairy industry is boiling over plant-based milks," 31 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shelf.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of shelf

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for shelf

Middle English, probably from Old English scylfe; akin to Old Norse hlīthskjalf Odin's seat

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Statistics for shelf

Last Updated

18 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shelf

The first known use of shelf was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for shelf

shelf

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shelf

: a flat board which is attached to a wall, frame, etc., and on which objects can be placed
geology : a flat area of rock, sand, etc., especially underwater

shelf

noun
\ ˈshelf How to pronounce shelf (audio) \
plural shelves\ ˈshelvz \

Kids Definition of shelf

1 : a flat piece (as of wood or metal) set above a floor (as on a wall or in a bookcase) to hold things
2 : a flat area (as of rock)

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More from Merriam-Webster on shelf

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shelf

Spanish Central: Translation of shelf

Nglish: Translation of shelf for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shelf for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shelf

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